The IU Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology brings together the collections of the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology and the Mathers Museum of World Cultures. These materials represent cultures from each of the world's inhabited continents through a range of times and cultures. Our collections have been collected and curated to serve the museum’s primary mission as a teaching museum within a university setting.

The collections are secured, maintained, exhibited, researched, and developed within a policy structure based on accepted standards for professional museums. The policies cover such areas as scope of the collection, acquisitions, documentation, loan procedures, access to collections, deaccessions, disposal of removed items, as well as a code of ethics. The artifacts are stored in a purpose-built facility with climate and light control, security provisions, and ample space for collections care work and other artifact-intensive work.


The Archaeological Collections of IUMAA contain over 12,000 accessions, totaling millions of individual items. These are made up of both excavated and donated collections, which piece together the material remains of cultures from the earliest occupations of North American through to the modern period. These collections also contain thousands of documents and images that documents the history of archaeological work in Indiana and the Midwest since at least the 1920s.


The Ethnographic Collections of IUMAA consist of over 30,000 objects and 10,000 photographs representing cultures from all over the world. Collection  strengths include musical instruments, North African, Middle Eastern, and Central Asian textiles and jewelry, South and Central American artifacts, Pawnee material culture, Indonesian puppets, and West African sacred and daily use artifacts. Photograph collections range from the 8,000 item Wanamaker Collection of American Indian Photographs to several hundred images of Bloomington and Monroe County, to small sets of images related specific object collections.


The Reading Room at IUMAA contains several thousand books, reports, magazines, newsletter runs, and over 3,000 linear feet of archives related to archaeology, anthropology, and related museum subjects. These collections are used in conjunction with the other museum collections to support study, education, and research. In addition to being a quiet space for researchers to use materials, the Reading Room as gathering space will be there to encourage thoughtful discussions of classes, facilitate group meetings, and be an access point for those curious about the Museum or other campus resources.

More about the collections

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